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January 2019 Retro Gaming Article


January 30, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

With the Wii Shop Channel closing today, have you thought about where all those games go?

Wii Shop Channel is closed
After 12 years, we hope you spent all your points and have all your purchases downloaded... because they're all gone now.
The Wii was the first console I've owned that had a digital store. I've always preferred physical games, but I was delighted by the games offered on the Wii and some were from smaller developers who couldn't do physical releases.

I found a lot of great games on the Wii Shop Channel and still fire up my Wii to play them. As much as I feel reminiscent of great times, shut-downs like this are also a good time to strike up a conversation about video game preservation.

More games than you may realize become extinct daily whether physical or digital. GONE!
They say once something is on the Net it's there forever. Maybe that goes for embarrassing Facebook photos or those lewds you put on that forum a few years ago. The bottom line is preservation must always be at the forefront. Game-specific servers close down after time. Online stores are shuttered over time. What happens to the games?

The gems I downloaded from the Wii Shop Channel will be playable until my Wii fails, then those games are gone. I can't recover them or re-download them. They will be gone. Preservation isn't a one-time event. All digital-only media can become "at risk".

The Myspace social network used to be a storage site that gave you online space to save or store files. Then it became a social network and was later ousted by Facebook's popularity. I wonder what happened to the files that were once stored there? I'll bet they are all gone. Maybe the owners were able to retreive their files before shutting down... maybe not.

Back to my SD card full of Wii games... I can move them to my Wii U, but that's where they end. There'sno upgrade path for these games on the Switch. The bottom line is MANY games have a finite life span. While they may last twenty years on my Wii, the console could fail tomorrow and the games are gone as far as my ability to play them. This happens often and great games are simply gone.

Think about it next time you're physically throwing something away or deleting games from your hard drive to install a newer title. Nothing lasts forever and, as a society, we seem to be OK with that... until we want to play that game we loved ten years ago.

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